New coalition of young people, voluntary and social enterprise sector, educators, and employers calls for “School to Work Framework” in the national curriculum

12 September 2017

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A new School to Work Campaign to include a framework in the curriculum to give all 9-18 year olds core non-technical employability skills, information about the world of work and the diversity of careers   is being unveiled at a launch event in London today.

At the heart of the Campaign is the “The School to Work Framework” designed to focus on consolidating the current good practice in many schools and colleges around the UK, and expanding that to regions where young people currently do not have access to the right support and employer access and consequently lose out when it comes to getting a job.

The Framework will also focus on building strong relations between young people, schools, colleges, and employers in their local area so that young people understand about the diversity of careers options, what’s needed to qualify and an opportunity to get the appropriate experience.

It will also address the lack ‘soft skills’ that employers value.  For example, evidence from a survey by the EY Foundation, a charity which helps disadvantaged young people transition successfully from education into the work place, and the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), has revealed that only 25% of 16-21 year olds think they are good at communicating. Only 15% are good at presenting and just 14% are good at getting people to work together in a team – essential skills in the workplace [i].

A second survey by the EY Foundation revealed that 84% of small and medium employers (SMEs) think that these core non-technical skills are of the same or greater importance for entry level jobs than academic qualifications [ii]. These skills include working as part of a team, problem-solving, resilience, the ability to communicate, organisational skills and punctuality.

The Campaign is being driven by a coalition of voluntary, community and  social enterprise sector representatives, educationalists and  employers, who are calling for an accredited “School to Work Framework”.

Lyn Cole, a former Director at Big Lottery Fund who is Chairing the campaign’s voluntary, community and social enterprise sector work group said,   “We believe every young person in the UK regardless of the barriers they face should have access to the kind of skills, information and support necessary to succeed in the workplace. But we need to make sure that the Frame work we develop works for every young person – no matter what their needs – so that no one slips through the net.

This Framework would be included in the national curriculum for all 9-18 year olds so that every young person in the UK, regardless of background, would learn essential core workplace skills in the class room and during work experience.

A  CBI-backed National Youth Panel of ten young people from across the UK will play a central role in shaping the curriculum so that it reflects the views of young people. Duncan McCombe is Co-chair of the panel.  “Young people, including me are funnelled through the exam factories we call schools. We’re led down a path, usually university. As soon as we step off the path suddenly we’re on our own with no skills to succeed. That is why the School to Work Frame is so badly needed to equip young people with the skills they need for the future”.

The EY Foundation, a charity which supports young people facing barriers to employment  is supporting the Campaign.   Patrick Dunne, Chair of the EY Foundation, said, “We have helped more than a thousand young people to get a good start to their working life since we launched three years ago. But we recognise that we will not be able to reach every young person who needs our support.

This campaign was inspired by young people, will include them throughout, makes a huge amount of common sense and I hope will enable those we can’t support  directly to be supported and change the game.

[i] Populus survey for EY Foundation and the CMI of 1,500 young people aged 16-21 in the UK between 23 February and 6 March 2016

[ii] Censuswide survey for the EY Foundation and the School to Work Campaign of 505 SMEs in Great Britain between  13 June  and 16 June 2017